[Over the next few weeks, we'll be presenting our favorite local songs of the year, counting down from No. 25 to No. 1, one track a day. Today, we take an in-depth look at song No. 7 on the list -- and, please, feel free to click after the jump to hear a stream of the track. Also after the jump, check out songs Nos. 50-8 in the Top 50 list that will update as it grows...]
Soon after the Dallas Family Band first charmingly appeared in the local music landscape, the first of that collective's offshoots released its debut, self-titled album.
And while The Beaten Sea didn't necessarily showcase a band mining particularly new territory, that was the intended aim of the music created by co-vocalists and founding members Benj Pocta and Jamie Wilson, and complemented well by their backing players, drummer Daniel Hall and vocalist Ashley Myrick (who had a pretty decent year on her own). Actually, from the onset, they wanted to summon the ghost of the South's musical history.
Did they ever: The Beaten Sea's April-released, 13-track debut is an incredibly impressive affair that, upon immediate listen, transports its listeners to the desperate times of the 1920s and 1930s. And not just in theme -- but in instrumentation, arrangement and performance.
At a certain point it becomes clear: Aided only by a banjo, an acoustic guitar and a modest drum set-up, the band's straightforward, often singalong-inducing folk efforts are more than just well-studied tributes paying homage to the music of the past. Far more. They're well-crafted, story-telling affairs that will do your soul quite well to hear, thank you very much.
And, on an album loaded with gems, none stands out at grandly as "Doctor's Not Gonna Cure Our Ills," which, more so than any other song from this act, exhibits the band's admirable qualities.
From its start, the song brings to mind thoughts of the traveling snake oil salesmen of the South's past -- of both the religious and medicinal variety. But it's so much more than a reminder of those times.
By recalling such thoughts of a more rural America, when travel and communication were inherently tied, and both suffered from simple means of transportation, the group brings an inherent added despair to this long-distance love song. It's unclear as to where or to how far our narrator's love interest is considering traveling, but this much is certain: However far it may be, it's too far -- a point hammered home both by this song's smart lyricism and by Pocta's weary-voiced lead performance.
And, as such, "Doctor's Not Gonna Cure Our Ills" soothes our desire for a return to a more genuine past as best as we imagine it can be done.
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The Top 50 Local Songs of 2010 (Links to music videos and free song downloads available where applicable; links to streams where neither a download nor video exists.)
50. Dear Human - "Waiting"
49. Nervous Curtains - "All Yesterday's Parties"
48. Spector 45 - "Try Try Try"
47. Smile Smile - "Beg You To Stay"
46. Robert Gomez - "A Natural State"
45. Florene - "Parc Bitch"
44. Mount Righteous - "Eat Your Wife and Kiss The Barbecue"
43. The Strange Boys - "Be Brave"
42. Soft Environmental Collapse - "A Horse & Buggy Complex"
41. Deepspace5 - "Killing With Kindness"
40. Sextape -- "Lubricated Intimacy"
39. Museum Creatures - "Song ABC"
38. Ocelot - "Beating Hears"
37. Sir Silky - "The Squeeze (The Answer)"
36. Bone - "Homegurl"
35. Ishi - "Come Closer"
34. Hoyotoho - "Born Black"
33. Dorrough - "Get Big"
32. Katie Carroll - "Paper Girl"
31. Final Club - "Ruded"
30. Treal Lee & Prince Rick - "Throwed Off (Fuck Errbody)"
29. South San Gabriel - "All Night Long"
28. The Rocket Summer - "Walls"
27. Darktown Strutters - "Lucifer Rising"
26. School of Seven Bells - "Windstorm"
25. Damaged Good$ - "WEHATEDAMAGEDGOOD$TOO"
24. The Burning Hotels - "Austin's Birthday"
23. Doug Burr - "At The Public Dance"
22. The Flowers of God
21. Dondria -- "You're The One"
20. Sundress - "Locust"
19. Blixaboy - "Lion Eyes (featuring Emil Rapstine)"
18. A.Dd+ feat. Brown of Sore Losers - "Likeamug"
17. The Secret Handshake - "Every Single Time"
16. Lalagray - "The Hard Part"
15. Sore Losers - "Free Loaders"
14. Leg Sweeper - "Sexy Weekend"
13. Midlake - "Rulers, Ruling All Things"
12. Ryan Thomas Becker - "So Speak"
11. Analog Rebellion - "You've Been Had (Machine)"
10. Mind Spiders -- "Worlds Destroyed"
9. Kimberly -- "Sociopath"
8. Old 97's -- "The Magician"
7. The Beaten Sea -- "Doctor's Not Gonna Cure Our Ills"